Feb 6, 2014

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All inclusive vs self-catering – what’s best?

As you plan your holiday for this summer, many will agonise over whether to take an all-inclusive holiday or whether to opt for self-catering.

We’ll help you to make the decision and point out the advantages and the disadvantages of each type of holiday.



Self-catering – What are the pros and cons?

Whether you opt for an apartment, an aparthotel or a villa, going your own way with catering has loads of benefits. These include…

  • Ultimate freedom to eat and drink when you want
  • You can control your budget by only buying foods that you need
  • You can save money by bulk buying drinks, water and even ice creams
  • You can snack to your heart’s delight and control the expense
  • You can cater for fussy eaters without that cost
  • You can bring food from home
  • You can make the most of local produce and there’s no need to waste food
  • Finally, you can eat out when you want to sample local restaurants.

Obviously if you choose to self-cater and you need to prepare meals, then someone needs to do that work. However, if you involve everyone in your holiday party it soon becomes easy. And you can get the children involved in discovering new foods and learning about new tastes.

The other thing you need to ensure is that there are plenty of places to buy food and drink and that the cost of living is reasonable.

So what about all-inclusive?

Taking an all-inclusive break should mean that you have nothing to worry about;

  • Food and drink is included, including alcohol
  • Many meals are buffet style, allowing you to choose exactly what you like
  • There are often no additional costs once you are in your resort
  • Entertainment and activities are often included
  • You can return home knowing that there are no bills to pay when you get back – the holiday is paid for before you go
  • And you can holiday without having to think about what the next meal will be.

However, the key thing with an all-inclusive deal is to check what is actually included in the price. Look out for things like;

  • Premium alcohol brands being chargeable
  • Well-known brands of soft drinks being excluded
  • Snacks and ice creams as extras
  • No meal choices at main meals
  • Or maybe additional fees for activities in your resorts.

Now, every accommodation has a different definition of all-inclusive, so do be wary of any additional costs you will have to pay and budget for them before you go.

Do destinations make a difference?

They do indeed. In Europe you can easily opt for either self-catering or all inclusive and still have a great break. Self catering holidays in Spain and the Algarve are superb value and there are plenty of places to shop for food.

It is also very easy to self-cater in Florida, however you will not find all-inclusive options in the Sunshine State.

When you opt for long-haul beach destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Egypt and Cuba, then all inclusive is a great option as self-catering is not usually offered and trying to buy food will be challenging.

Whichever you choose for your next holiday, where will you get away for less?

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